The Beating Heart of Gen Ed

General education programs are a perennial source of consternation for faculty, administrators and students alike. The challenges, from one institution to another and from one decade to another, read like a broken record. For students, general education classes seem irrelevant to their majors or career goals, which make them pointless, something merely to “get out of the way.”

Faculty struggle to explain how these courses serve their purported purpose, to provide a general foundation for more advanced learning. Finally, any effort to redesign general education demands institutionwide buy-in on what courses fulfill the requirement, which is difficult to obtain and even harder to sustain over time. Perhaps no issue in higher education generates more calls for reform (and then reform again) than how to structure gen ed requirements.

Recently, these long-standing issues have been exacerbated by larger social and institutional trends. Students, parents and policy makers increasingly demand that we demonstrate the “value proposition” of a college education in economic and career-focused terms, especially in light of the rapidly rising cost of college.

Please help put parents in charge of their child’s education by forwarding this article to other parents, family, friends and voters.

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